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Playing Favorites: Couples, Singles, and the Church

By April 28, 200816 Comments

Last week I almost didn’t tithe….deliberately.

The sermon had just ended and I was sitting in my seat, all ready to stick my little check in the offering bucket. Then one of the pastors made an announcement about an upcoming event, and I immediately reconsidered my decision. He explained that, in connection with the current sermon series on dating and marriage, the church staff would babysit everyone’s children so that parents could have a date night together. In addition to this gesture, the church would even provide the couples with $20 toward their evening. All of this was in the spirit of building up our members’ marriages, encouraging them to implement the principles they’d learned from the pulpit.

Well as soon as I heard this, I almost withheld my tithe. I live on a very meager salary, so while I don’t mind tithing for the purpose of running the church, sending people on missions, and aiding in charity, I wasn’t about to give my money away so that other people, who have more money than I do, could go out on a date. If that’s how the church was gonna use it, then I might as well hold onto it for myself! After all, I could use a date! Why do the people who already have a spouse and a job need my hard-earned money?

So I sat there for a moment or two, debating whether or not I should still give my tithe. Eventually the better side of me won out, and I gave my tithe anyway. As a member of my church, I trust, honor and respect the decisions of my leaders, so I decided to submit myself to them in this case, even if I didn’t fully understand. But I’m not gonna lie–I still feel a little irked about the whole thing. Sometimes being single is the pits.

(In light of some of the comments posted since I wrote this post, I feel the need to add that this was not meant to be an indictment of my church, which I LOVE very much. It was instead meant to be an honest reflection of my thought process. I have always desired that my honesty about my struggles might help others work through their own struggles. While I started at a place of frustration, I tried to end with a more godly attitude, which is the trajectory of what follows…)

Now before you assume that I’m writing this solely to vent my frustration, I want you to know that the idea for this post did not originate with me. It actually came from a pastor in Minnesota who is himself married. He wrote me with the following question, which took on new significance to me in light of this recent church experience:

How do churches, in an effort to emphasize healthy family ministry, send unintentional and innuendoed messages that say, “if you’re not a family (mom, dad, 2.5 kids, and a dog) you won’t fit in here.”

Some examples: displaying pictures of church leaders that include their families (message=gotta have a family to be a leader); family camping outing (message=not for singles); supper 8s (message=this is an event for couples, thus the even number). Am I overdoing this or am I on to something?… tell me what you really think.

When I first read this question several weeks ago, my initial reaction was one of slight disconnect. Honestly, being single is not something I struggle with very often. When there is an occasional church event for married couples, it doesn’t really phase me. Sure, there have been times when I’ve yearned for a husband, but it’s not a thorn in my side, and I generally haven’t felt like my church was alienating me in that regard.

But over the last several weeks as my pastor has preached through Song of Solomon, I’ve begun to see how many single people might feel that way. I’ve heard numerous statistics about how much happier married people are than single people, how married sex is better than single sex, and how marriage is the best means for sanctification that God has given us.

(And I can’t fail to mention that our “homework” at the end of each sermon has gone something like: “Single people: make a list of standards you should have for your spouse. Married people: go have mind-blowing sex.” Umm, can I please have the married people’s homework??)

So all of these subtle and not so subtle messages slowly piled up in my head, culminating with the announcement about the date night. That was the final straw. I felt that, while we are instructed to find completion in Christ alone, we are simultaneously taught that life is most rich and fulfilling when shared with a spouse. In doing so, our church leaders seem to be talking out of two different sides of their mouths.

And the more I have reflected on this, the more I have realized its effects on me. Like I said, I have always been content with my singleness, but I am starting to suspect that my contentment was merely an illusion. It’s not that I had accepted the possibility of never getting married, and was at peace with it. Rather, I was at peace with being single NOW, assuming that one day I will get married. My contentment rested on the hope of eventually getting married, not my fulfillment in Christ alone.

When I am completely honest with myself, I have to admit that my life will be missing something, somehow incomplete, if I don’t get married and have kids. And while there is a degree to which these desires are entirely God-given, there are times when our churches are irritating the waiting process.

This leaves us with an interesting predicament. On the one hand, marriage is one of the most fundamental building blocks of a healthy culture and church, so it’s important to build up our marriages as effectively as we can. That said, the solution to discontented singles is not to stop talking about marriage.

On the other hand, has the emphasis on building up the family become lop-sided? I suspect that it has, but how do we re-center ourselves?

In my opinion, there are two solutions to this problems, both of which require action on the part of us singles. Let us never become the sort of Christians who sit around and complain, but never do anything about it. The Church belongs to us as well, so we need to take ownership in its ministry. With that in mind, here’s what I believe we need to be doing:

1) Help your leaders in ministering to singles. If the sermons and ministries are becoming married-centric, voice your concerns to the pastors in a constructive and gentle way. Our leaders aren’t mind-readers, so they can’t know you are frustrated or struggling if you don’t tell them. Also, offer them ideas for ministering to single people, and when you propose your ideas, don’t simply expect them to take care of it for you–help them! Give of your time in serving the church so that they can more easily implement the changes you have proposed.

2) Continue striving for contentment in Christ alone. I know this sounds like a bit of a cop out, but no matter how hard your church tries, they can never make you feel secure if you yourself are not working toward that end. We have got to take responsibility for our own satisfaction in Christ, and as long as we live in a culture that sells sex and relationships as the ultimate source of happiness, this will be a struggle. It is a battle you must resolve to fight.

As someone who is in the trenches with you, please know that you are not alone if you are feeling lonely or frustrated. But as the saying goes, lonely single people only make for lonely married people, so the answer does not lie in finding a mate. The more we embrace this truth, the more we will experience peace. Not only do I desire such a peace, but I want to be so enveloped in Christ’s love that my only reaction to announcements about date nights and sermons about sex is rejoicing. Praise God for the gift of marriage! Maybe I will have that gift one day, but whether or not I do, I already have the greatest gift of all.


  • spoiledcatsmom says:

    I can’t say AMEN loud enough. I have so much to say here, but will try my best to be concise.
    1)Yes, the church doesn’t know what to do w/ Singles. And singles can perpetuate that w/ the “woe is me, set me up, set me up w/ someone now.” attitude. You are right, instead of complaining about the problem – be a part of the solution.

    One idea: due to the fact our Women’s Ministry Director has a huge heart for single women, she took action. For Valentines Day, last year, the first 30 single women to sign up, were taken to Macaroni Grill for dinner, then treated to a movie. We had a blast, instead of sitting at home bemoaning our lonely plight.

    2. Lonely Single People will be Lonely Married People. I’ve seen this proven, over and over and over. As a 40yr old never married and a bridesmaid 12 times, I’ve lived just long enough to see this proven and embrace the opportunities my singleness has provided.
    Note: Lest you get dismayed at the thought of a never married 40 yr old, allow me to testify to this truth. God knows us better than we know ourselves. Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina! (not sure you’ll get that, but oh well.) I am a happy girl! I have a plethora of also never married friends who are successful, beautiful and smart. We travel to Australia, the Amazon and one of us is going to be a professor on a Navy ship. Not too shabby, huh? ;0)

    I can’t prove this, but I truly feel God is calling more of His children to be single. As we get closer to the latter days, there is much Kingdom work to be done. We Singles can focus on ministry and still have time take an impromptu road trip w/ our friends, or sleep as late as we want to on a Sat. morning. (Granted, that doesn’t include single parents, but that’s a whole other blog.)

    That said, if George Clooney falls in love with Jesus then me….My Grandpa is a preacher and would answer my happy call in a New York minute. ;0)

  • Phil says:

    I hear ya. I firmly believe that singles tend to get completely left out in the life of a church. I have struggled with this for years. The sad reality is, most people, although well-intentioned, send a clear message to us singles that we cannot be complete without a significant other. As a staff member at my church in Cary, NC, I get this every week. Every time I meet someone, the first question I get is “So, are you married?” When I politely tell them no, I usually get a look of pity followed by a “well, I’m sure it’ll happen one day…just be patient.” I mean really…what’s the deal with that?

    Herein lies the problem: If I’m content with my singleness, people wonder what is wrong with me. The longer I’m single, the more people wonder what is wrong with me. Whenever people try to set me up, it shows just how little they actually know me (I can’t count the number of disasters). I will not date anyone within my own church community (can you imagine the problems if it didn’t work out?). And since I’m pretty new to Cary, the only people I really have contact with guessed it…church folk.

    Now, I could use a date as much as the next guy. I’m honest about that. But I’ve grown to embrace my singleness, to be thankful for the opportunities it has allowed for me. But I do long for the day when singles can feel connected, not alienated. And maybe even see a singles group in their church as much, much more than a Christian dating service.

  • russkellyphd says:

    Since you put your money in the offering basket you have the right to question how it is used.

    I see no biblical principle which allows the church to give your money to people who do not need it. That was never the purpose of OT tithes.

    Read 1st Timothy 5:8 and see if it applies to you.

    Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
    Author of Should the Church Teach Taithing?

  • Larry says:

    Thanks, Sharon, for taking my questions and sharing them with the blogosphere. You have done a beautiful job of addressing this issue. I am sorry to have to confess that it took me many years in ministry before it hit me that the most fully human and fully complete person who ever walked the planet was a life-long single.

    Now I have to be careful not to swing the pendulum too far the other way… although I think it could swing a long way before it’s too far. It just hurts me when I see 20-something singles treated like children whose lives haven’t really started yet. It also hurts me to realize that, at times in my ministry, I have contributed to the problem by looking right past them.

    Maybe some of our bad marriages in the church (that require a lot of energy to repair) are the result of the unspoken expectation that by the time you’re a certain age you should be getting married. (Senior in college? You better get scrambling!) Is it possible that all our emphasis on family in the church is, in a backwards kind of way, contributing to the problem of lonely marriages instead of solving it?

    Larry Stromberg
    Centennial EFC
    Forest Lake, MN

  • Jenn Pappa says:

    Hi Sharon,

    This blog is a little upsetting to me. I think one thing to keep in mind is that when we go to church, we aren’t necessarily there to get fulfilled or fed, we are also there to serve those around us and to be part of the body of christ. As a living person, you are a part of a family and that family life has affected you in some way. The marraige of your parents, your siblings, your friends, and maybe one day your future marraige should be extremely important to you. Even if you are an orphan, the families that have surrounded you or that you know are extremely important to you. The well being of the families in your life should be something you want your church to fund and you should be eager to give your money to. If you are only giving your tithe hoping that you will in some way be benefited, I think you have the wrong idea of what the church is for.

    We are all in different stages of our lives… but you can not deny that marraige is an essential part of everyone’s lives and should be addressed by the church. Singleness is also a season in everyone’s lives… but to say single people are being ignored because the church has been addressing sex and marraige is a bit absurd and shortsighted.

    Jenn Pappa

  • joni says:

    Hi Sharon!

    Wow, I feel your pain on this one. Yes, single chic here, 27… and no regrets 😉

    I understand your reservations about your tithe going to pay for a married couple’s date. I agree with the other comment that it doesn’t seem to fit the bibical pattern of what the tithe should be for. You probably did the right thing by going ahead and giving, but I say “Red flag!” Your question doesn’t seem to be “Why should I tithe to something I can’t benefit from?” But more a concern that the tithe should go to something a couple could afford themselves? It shouldn’t!

    Anyway, the main idea of your article is something I have noticed in some churches: a general unease with singlness, and seeing it as a strictly transitional stage of development. Not so! For one thing, it doesn’t end for some people. And it presupposes that couples are somehow more advanced b/c they have passed through their developmental single stage. Are we singles butterflies yet to emerge from our cocoons?

    Maybe. It would have to depend on who you are. Truly, some people don’t grow up until they are married or have children, when they think they have to. Others of us are booking it down the spiritual path God has laid out for us mainly b/c we ARE single and don’t have “married distractions” ala Paul’s point about staying single. I also think that in many cases, being married makes that journey better, deeper and more impactful. Basically, it could be much better to be married, or one’s spiritual life could suffer, if one were not careful. (I guess that is what Paul was getting at.)

    Back to Paul: he was speaking from the urgency of his call. Logistically, could he do what he did and be a husband and father? He would have to choose. And he did. He was looking ahead and encouraging those who were/would be faced with the same choice to think about it logically: if God has called you to this and that, think about whether it is even compatable with a family life.

    But the bottom line for most of us is, is there really a great divide between spiritual and carnal needs if we walk in the Kingdom like we should? (Seriously, I’m asking.)

  • Sharon Hodde says:

    In response to some of these comments, I think some people are reacting to what they *thought* I said, but not what I actually wrote. For instance, I want to be clear that I never claimed the church shouldn’t build up the families, or that families are not the most essential building blocks of the church. In fact, I said just the opposite. Churches should be doing everyting they can toward this end, but the insightful question was raised that, in an effort to build up our families, are we simultaneously tearing down our singles. That is the question I wanted to address.

    Also, I did not argue that tithing is for our own benefit. Like I said, I believe tithing is essential for serving others–missions, charity, etc. However, as members of a church, I do not believe it is beyond our responsibillity to question how our money is used. Ultimately, I chose to submit to my church, and I believe whole-heartedly that I made the right decision, but that does not make me a bad church member simply because I wrestled with it.

    It is important that single people keep all of these things in mind, when we feel frustrated or ignored by our church. BUT, I think the pastor who initially encouraged me to write this post was insightful in noting that married couples sometimes have a surprising lack of understanding as to how tough it is to be single. While I did eventually decide to tithe, knowing that my church thinks through these things and uses my money wisely, one would have to be profoundly unempathetic to not see how difficult such an act might be for singles. It is hard to sit through sermon after sermon hearing these subtle messages about marital bliss, and then be asked to give money to those couples who are already apparently happier than we are in the first place. Simply stated, it’s difficult.

    All of that to say, I feel no hesitation in saying that if you are single and you struggle with these issues, if you feel frustrated or discouraged by the way in which marriage is discussed by your leaders, then you have every right to feel that way. To tell singles they must immediately deny those feelings and suck it up will do little to benefit them, and will only increase their bitterness.

    Instead, we must be honest about our feelings. Why? Because once we are honest about how frustrated we feel, then we can begin to seek the godly responses to those concerns.

    The problem is not that we feel discouraged–the problem is that we stop there. Don’t languish in your bitterness, but talk to your church about it and engage Christ to help you through it.

    So again, I must say that if your married friends chide you for feeling frustrated about your singleness, you might gently remind them that while you appreciate their concern and accountability since we should never let bitterness take root, that does not mean we have nothing constructive or prophetic to speak into the church, or our married friends’ lives for that matter.

  • Jenn Pappa says:


    I whole heartedly agree that you would (and do!) have something constructive and prophetic to say to married couples and to the church. Which is why I don’t think the tactic is to not address marraige but for singles to eagerly and lovingly engage in relationships, conversations, etc about marraige and with married people.

    I also don’t think you are a “bad church member” because you wrestled giving you tithe. That’s not at all what I meant or said… though in reality I think we are all at times bad church members.

    I do however think that saying you didn’t want to give to the date night for the reasons you stated sounded selfish and jealous instead of loving and kind. That was my point. And while I understand why you might feel that way, I do think it’s wrong.

    Also, i do think married people forget the struggles of being single. And through this sermon series I’ve been reminded of a lot of those struggles as JD addressed a good deal of them. I also think that singles have a hard time understand the hardship that can come with marraige. Discusssing marraige and interactions like this should encourage unity by helping us see another perspective, not make us feel left out or discouraged.

    Also, I know you said that families are the building blocks of the church, but the rest of the blog you spent whining that single people were being ignored. My point is that single people are a part of a family and so it baffles me why you would feel ignored.

    What is it about being single that is being ignored? What changes should we make to help in your discouragement?

  • cmann says:

    Sharon, as a 32 year old fellow single woman I wanted to comment on what was going through my head as I read your blog. Thank you for allowing us to see into your head as you worked out for yourself the journey from reaction to response. I will say first of all that I understand the frustrations of being single. As a counselor however, I get to sit ringside (and sometimes it feels like right in the midst of)some of the things married couples struggle with. I just want to say, AS SINGLE PEOPLE WE ARE BLESSED! Just as we often accuse married people in our church of not understanding our hurts, I can pretty much guarantee few single people truly understand many of the hurts that married people experience. If we did, we would not begrudge them an ounce of extra attention or instruction. The way I think about it, the other 90% or sermons not about sex and marriage are entirely about me, not in my identity as single or married, but as a follower of Christ. That is after all, the only way to be a happy single (or married) person.

  • Ike says:

    Throughout the history of the church, singleness has been esteemed as the most excellent way that an individual could live their life. Paul in 1 Corinthians wished that all would be as he is (single). You may respond, well he is selfish and jealous and wants everyone to be unhappy as he is. His response may be that you are unable to exercise self-control, (both with your tongue and with your physical bodies). Paul’s concern was spreading the Gospel and he found that those who were unmarried were most efficient in accomplishing this task. It is not that marriage is bad, but he simply had more important things to do. The Church fathers and Mothers (Gregory of Nyssa, St. Basil the Great, Macrina, etc.) also held singleness in high regard, higher than that of marriage, precisely because it allowed for an unequivocal, incomparable intimacy with God. My argument is not that we should all make vows of celibacy but there has been a tremendous paradigm shift in how we view singleness and marriage.
    The consequence is readily seen in the absence of the majority of individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 who find no place for themselves in the church. Although they themselves are a part of a family, they often are not still in the same location with their family to attend church with them. Therefore they do not fit the mold the church promotes: that is, “whatever your age, you should come with your family as a complete unit.” They respond in kind, “When I have children (my own family unit) I will go back to church.”
    Sharon, then, does not seem to be whining about not receiving attention as a single or whether or not marriage should be addressed in sermons, but is redirecting our attention toward what is most important: how do we provide a community that does not subordinate singleness to marriage, but consciously encourages the pursuit of intimacy with God in the lives of singles.

  • Anonymous says:

    I guess what I first wrote to you wasn’t in God’s plan, it got deleted. Let me try again… I think your entry was wondeful! It, as all your entries are, was honest and a hoot! Two qualities I find quite wonderful. I will pass this insight along to Covenant’s new Senior Minister, Bob Henderson. He is very dynamic and is about to revamp our Young Adult program so I find the timing of YOUR entry here very interesting. I have MANY single friends that have expressed some of the same frustrations you touched on in your entry, so you are not off base is your conclusions. Thank you for your honesty… again, what an awesome trait.

    Keep the faith girlfriend… I’ve often heard it said, if you are single perhaps God just isn’t done preparing your mate for you, or visa versa. Who knows, but either way, you are fantastic and I hope I get to meet you one day!

    God bless you and continue to embrace your singleness… you are right where God would have you, doing exactly what He would have you do to glorify His kingdom.

    Here’s to HIM!
    Anne Steppe

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with all that is being said. I think the comments also shed a lot of helpful light on the situation. As a young woman that is single it is hard to adapt in a setting that is mostly family oriented. Yes, the church is to act like a family and many times it does. I feel loved and cherished by my brothers and sisters there, whether married or single. But, to be competely truthful, at the end of the day I go to bed by myself. I shop for myself. I eat by myself. I am not attached. I don’t have a companion or family in the way that married couples do at church. As sharon and others said, I think married couples do not really pay attention to how tough it can be to be single. They take for granted their situation and are not sensitive to those around them. As my pastor (and also Sharon’s) has been going through this series, it has been difficult. While all the married couples are getting advice on how to have great sex, I am told to “dream” and “imagine” the person I am to marry in the future. This in itself sets up an expectation that I have to get married and that I need to make a list of my perfect spouse. I don’t necessarily need that. I need Christ to fulfill every part of me. I need to focus on him fully as Cynthia said. Even though it is said a lonely insecure single person is a lonely insecure married person, it is hard to take that lightly when the expectation is still that I will get married and I am better off getting married.
    Also agreeing with Ike, I think this is a lot of the reason many 20 somethings don’t make it a point to attend church. It is somewhere you go with a family. It is culturally very family oriented. So, it makes sense that if you are not attached then that you wouldn’t feel as welcomed. You don’t have kids programs influencing your decision to come to church. You don’t have a spouse encouraging you or couples retreats to go on. This is I think a large disconnect in our society that hopefully can be fixed as we as the church address it and push through these issues.
    Now, I know this last comment may step on some toes…so don’t take it offensively. I do love my church and I love our leadership. I do believe they follow the Lord and seek him out continually in their ministry. I am ministered to and fed weekly with their service and love to me as a fellow believer. But… it has been hard for me to hear on a weekly basis about singleness from a married person. I do know that he experienced a time of singleness in his life, but I feel like many times married people forget some of the aspects of the singlness lifestyle once the are married. I mean, of course something has to change because you are married. So, in the same way you wouldn’t want a single pastor to get up tell you how to have great sex with your husband or wife, it has been hard to take single advice from a married person. Kinda like getting diet advice from a fat person. Just doesn’t seem exactly right on the line for you. In thinking this through, I thought of possibilities for single men in leadership positions in the church who could address this to the singles. As I brainstormed I became shocked to realize that no single men are on full time staff at our church (there are a couple that are engaged, but are getting married in a matter of weeks). This was kind of disturbing since a large majority of our church population is single (college students and young professionals) and there is no man on staff who can directly identify and lead them in being single. I also thought, how do we amend this problem? Do we hire someone specifically because they are single and tell them they have to stay single? Well, I don’t have the answer to that, but I do think we should be more intentional about hiring singles at the church who can lead and minister to the singles within the church. Not specifically a singles ministry which is just like a preview your spouse event, but rahter someone who can lead and relate to the singles in the church, plugging them in effectively to ministries. Any thoughts? I’m probably going to get bashed for that statement, so sorry ahead of time.

  • Chris Pappa says:

    Wow! Hodde, you’ve taken off since last I left you. The comments are rolling in.

    Sharon’s original post seemed to aim at two issues: 1. use of our tithe, and 2. the church tacitly favoring the married.

    As to (1), I also get a little frustrated by our churches use of money. Music equipment, pastors’ vacations, other bizarre events, often seem peripheral. Like Sharon, I suck it up and give, trusting the leadership. But it can be a little (somtimes more) annoying.

    As to (2), I challenge the assumption that the church should NOT focus on families more than on individuals. Aside from Paul’s words in I Cor. 7, I have a hard time finding any biblical passages addressing “singleness,” per se, while passages addressing familial interaction abound in both OT and NT. The sheer fact that we have a Song of Solomon with no accompanying “Song of Singleness” is telling.

    It is also important to realize that the contemporary American culture prizes work success, education, and individual accomplishment far above family. I wonder if this has leaked into the church’s thinking as well.

    I hope the mass of readers here will pardon what may seem like naivete. However, the discussion advanced here seemed to warrant a bit of “equal time.”

  • Jenn Pappa says:

    Hi again,

    I think Chris made a good point that what we might be seeing are the results of a devaluation of family in our society and perhaps in the young church. As society as valued “success, education, and individual accomplishment” far above family, we do see an increase of people who are in essense alone because they don’t have their families around. I don’t think the issue is that they are single, but that they are lonely.

    In Bible study last night we studied Adam and we talked about what God meant when he said “man was not meant to be alone.” I don’t think he necessarily meant that they had to be married, but that they need other humans – they need a community of people to help each other and be together. However, that did start with marraige… it’s the beginning. But maybe what we should be looking for in our churches is how to be more of a community? To live, eat, and love together as a family. That would mean being attached… shopping together, eating together, making decisions together.

    I think we should get away from separating the singles from the marrieds because I don’t think they are opposites. Let’s not forget that we also have people in our church who are orphans, divorced, widowed, or for any other reason have found themselves “without family.” But as a church, I don’t think we should ever be “single.”

    I dont think the solution is to get rid of the things that value family or encourage it, but instead to embrace those things and let your church be a manifestation of God in your life.

  • larry says:

    If I ever take the tithes and offerings of our congregation and use it to fund someone’s date night (married or single)…someone shoot me.

  • Kate says:

    I have to say as a single woman who is 30 who has been raised a Christian this topic really hits home. I struggle often with my role in God’s kingdom, how best to serve him, and how to be fulfilled in Christ rather than by worldly things. The way that the church emphasizes marriage as the ultimate goal of a Godly woman can be a distraction form a Godly life if one let’s it be. Don’t get me wrong, marriage and fmaily are vital to the Church and fundamental to it continuance, but so are singles. We are each individually children of God with our own roles in the furtherance of the Kingdom. Each role has its own struggles and trials. One is neither more nor less difficult than the other merely different. For me what I struggle with is the idea of a “time of singleness”, what if I will always be single, what if God’s plan for my entire life is a “time of singleness.” There seems to be a kind of holding pattern idea built into most of the ways that singleness is addressed but one cannot live their life in a holding pattern. No one wants their role or their place in the church belittled or considered less vital to the body as a whole. I think everyone needs to be aware of how their teachings, comments.and attitude. can contribute to that and try to empathize, love and support one another but also exhort one another to better serve Christ whatever their life circumstance is.

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